Friday, November 30, 2018

A Bride for Abel: The Proxy Brides

Can a marriage by proxy change a man's world for the better?

Abel Roosevelt finds himself behind bars in Pistol Ridge for simply defending himself in a game of cards. He is given the ultimatum; marry the bride by proxy who was meant for the man that was killed.

Or, hang.

Kate Eisenhour's only choice is to marry by proxy. With no other options, she sets off to a new life in Montana Territory. Can Kate survive a marriage by proxy to a man she never met?

What about Abel? Can he convince Kate her uncle is not who she thinks he is?

This is a sweet historical romance, the fourth in a multi-author project releasing every two weeks. Each book is a stand-alone HEA romance. Here is the release order for The Proxy Bride Series:

A Bride for Jeremiah by Christine Sterling
A Bride for Clay by Marianne Spitzer
A Bride for Nathan by Barbara Goss
A Bride for Abel by Cyndi Raye
A Bride for Finn by Linda Ellen
A Bride for Carter by Wendy May Andrews
A Bride for Charles by H. L. Roberts
A Bride for Sterling by Parker J. Cole
A Bride for Henry by P. Creeden

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Brokken Brother by Abagail Eldan

Lies broke them. The truth will heal them ... if time doesn't run out.

When Fritz Brokken robbed the bank with his brothers, he did more than steal the meager resources of the town of Brokken. He also shattered Lydia Walsh's heart.

When Fritz returns to Brokken to recruit reinforcements to save his brothers’ lives, no one believes his outlandish story. The sheriff throws him in jail. And he's running out of time. Lydia is a distraction he does not need or want. 

Or does he? The truth of her love may be exactly what he needs to complete his mission.

This is a stand-alone novella although it follows Brokken Arrow and Brokken Rising in sequence. 

This is part of the Brokken Road Romances series

This is a sweet historical romance set in East Texas following 
the Civil War.

Join me over on Abagail Eldan's Facebook author page to learn of new releases

Also, check out these other Brokken Road Romances:

And my other contribution to the series, Brokken Arrow.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Comfort of Soup

Does anyone else hear a report of incoming cold and wet weather and instinctively think, I’ve got to get a pot of soup started? Well, that was me this morning. I knew we had rain expected, but my husband has a super-specific-to-our-zip-code-weather app that said snow was expected at 6800 feet and we live at 7300 feet elevation. Since we’ve only had only a scant bit of rain so far this year, our area is due for some moisture. Many of you may have snow falling already, and others may look through a nearby window and see blinding sunlight. But no matter the weather, soup is a great meal choice.

As I chopped potatoes, celery, carrots, asparagus and leeks to pile into the crock pot, I couldn’t help thinking of pioneers and frontier families and how the women might have prepared for bad weather. Of course, they wouldn’t have a 72-hour warning that a storm would hit on Friday but be gone by Saturday. I have no clue of how skilled people were at watching the behavior of wild animals. Did they do something different to indicate a coming storm, like they do in advance of a prairie or forest fire. I’d assume in winter most would be burrowed in their dens. So, pioneers had to use other signs like horses and cattle huddling together, ice on the water bucket, rigid ropes. And everyone knows when gloves are needed and the regular winter coat isn’t keeping out the chilled air well enough.

In research for my historical stories, I’ve read journal accounts where a pot of soup or stew was kept over the fire all the time. When times were good, the smell of roasting meat would fill the air. When times were lean, maybe the scent was of earthy simmering root vegetables. Anyone remember the children’s book Stone Soup? Great lesson on everyone pitching in for the good of the group. Soup is forgiving—the recipe can be only a couple ingredients like stock and pureed squash, or you can toss in leftovers from the previous week’s meals. The ingredients really don’t matter much—what matters is the instinct to prepare something warm to combat the cold outside. For anyone who’s interested, here’s a recipe for the soup I created right before I sat down to write this post.

Potato Soup

8 cups stock (now that we’re vegan, I use vegetarian stock, but you could use 2 bouillon cubes of any type)

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

3 stalks celery, diced (I also chop the leaves and toss them in)

3 leeks, cut once lengthwise (white part only) then sliced (1 large diced onion could be substituted)

3 carrots, peeled and diced

12 asparagus stub ends, diced (bottom 3-4 inches, peeled. These were saved from an earlier meal where I served the top 5-6” of the spear)

1 tsp each marjoram, dill seed, caraway seed + ½ tsp paprika

Cook on high heat in crock pot for 5-6 hours until vegetables are tender. Right before serving, add 2 tsp of dried (or 1 T fresh) parsley. Scoop out 1 cup of broth and mix with ¾-1-1/4 cup dried milk powder (I use blender. For vegans, use ½ cake tofu or tear up 3 slices of crustless white or sourdough bread into 1” pieces) and then add back to pot and stir well. Makes at least 10 servings. I like to serve with fresh oatmeal or wheat muffins and a plate of cut-up fruit.

My family has often commented on how good soup smells as it’s cooking (I swear men love the scent of onions cooking or frying), and I notice how we linger around the table when soup is served. No matter what holiday you celebrate this month, consider including a big pot of soup on your menu.

Linda’s latest release is a western historical novella titled Dulcina, Book 5 in The Widows of Wildcat Ridge multi-author series.
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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

No, that's not me after the feast, 
but ...  I'm sure I'll feel that way. 

Enjoy the day. Rejoice with one another. Most of all be Thankful.

We at Sweet Americana Sweethearts are thankful for all of our followers. Hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

EARLY WOMEN WRITERS & Finding the Time to Write

Many of us who post on this blog are writers. We are constantly researching, working to promote our work, keep up with our readers, work outside the home and try to find time to tell the stories that are in our hearts and minds. We work in a world of constant distraction. But what of the women who wrote books in the early years.?

Helen Hunt Jackson wrote not only poetry, but essays and romance novels. Sara Jane Lippencott aka Grace Greenwood not only wrote essays,poetry, worked as a correspondent and also booked speaking engagements. And who can forget Isabella Bird, who traveled the world and then combined letters to her sister to create the books "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" and "The Yangtze Valley and Beyond: An Account of Journeys in China" to name a few.

Image result for grace greenwood
Sara Jane Lipencott
from Wikepedia
But what of the 'professional' women? One doctor, Geneveive Tucker, wrote a book titled "Mother, Baby, and Nursery: A Manual for Mothers" which was published in 1896. I found the subject and information fascinating. Here from the preface is the gold of the author for the book.

 The object of the author in presenting this work is to furnish a practical summary of the infant's hygiene and physical development. The aim of the book is to be a guide to mothers, particularly young and inexperienced ones. It purposes to teach and help a mother to understand her babe, to feed it properly, to place it in healthful surroundings, and to watch its growth and development with intelligence, and thus relieve in a measure the undue anxiety and nervous uncertainty of a new mother. The book is not intended in any measure to take the place of a physician, but rather to aid the physician in teaching the mother to care properly for her babe when well, that she may better nurse it when sick.

Then of course there were the autobiographies.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell wrote: "Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women; Autobiographical Sketches"

Harriot Kesia Hunt wrote: "Glances and Glimpses: or, Fifty Years Social, including Twenty Years Professional Life"

Helena Modjeska wrote: Memories and Impressions of Helena Modjeska: An Autobiography"

Image result for helena modjeska
Helena Modjeska
from Wikepedia
So who were these 'profesional' women? Most have heard of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to graduate from a medical school. But, Harriot Kesia Hunt was a doctor in Boston in the 1830s who  acquired her skills by studying with a male doctor. She had applied to Harvard medical school in 1847, the first female to apply, and was turned down. She was later granted an honorary degree from the Female Medical College in Philadelphia in 1853.

Helena Modjeska was an actress of some fame in the late 1800s who had been a star in Poland, but moved to the United States and began performing here. When she first arrived her performances were done somewhat phonetically, but she persevered and became one of the top Shakespearean actresses of her time.

Dr. Genevieve Tucker, who was appalled at infant mortality rate, stated “Decrease in infant mortality will be brought about more by strict hygiene and prevention of sickness then by any treatment of disease already begun, no matter how skillfully applied.” Dr. Tucker had a  practiced in Pueblo, Colorado, and in 1898 she was elected president of the Colorado Homeopathic Medical Society. 

Were the writings of these women best sellers? Who knows? But most of these works are still available either in print or in the public domain and give an insight into the world of the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

We can only hope our works, be they fiction or non-fiction, bring knowledge and joy to our readers. We truly love telling our stories for you. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, know we are thankful for all of you.

Speaking of babies and women doctors, here is an excerpt from my book "Josie's Dream", a story about a women who wanted to be a doctor more than almost anything.

Josie was exhausted and it showed in her walk and stance. The day had been one full of one emergency after another. The day started with Homer and his lessons, but quickly dissolved into a couple of broken bones, the Fresch boy, who had gotten his cast wet, and cuts and scrapes. Just when things looked like they would slow down, she’d had to go out to the Kruger homestead to assist Mrs. Kruger, who had gone into labor early and was having difficulty.
Josie was pleased that mother and baby were doing fine. Still, she’d had a bit of trouble convincing Mrs. Kruger and her husband that ‘laying in’ was not the best for mother and child. When she’d had Mr. Kruger, who was nervous about his first child, start to boil water, he’d no idea it was to wash the sheets. But wash them she had, after enlisting the poor father’s help. In the end, when she explained about cleanliness and the way it would help with Mrs. Kruger getting better more quickly, he fell right in. The love and pride the two had for each other and their son gave Josie hope for the future. She knew she would probably not get married for she knew most men wouldn’t want such an independent woman who had her own job. She also knew she’d never get a quilt that her grandmother made for the grand children who married. That thought made her sad. But she’d made her choice.
It was on days such as this, when she was tired but pleased with her day, that Josie wondered what the world would be like in another fifty years. Would doctors still be visiting patients, or would there be hospitals where those same patients could stay if there were complications. What would her life be like? The world continued on and, Josie knew, advances were being made in so many areas.

Thinking of Mrs. Packham, and her problems with the twins and their struggle to thrive after getting the poisoned food, Josie dreamed of a time when medicine would be able to help speed recovery or eradicate disease altogether. When the science had advanced enough, doctors would be able to tell if people like Mrs. Kruger were going to have complications. 

Click Here to Purchase on Amazon

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners
Western Fictioneers

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Welcome, Pauline Creeden & Welcome Back, Abagail Eldan

Welcome to two authors who will be blogging with us. One, Pauline Creeden is new to Sweet Americana Sweethearts. She will begin blogging for us next month on the third Tuesdays of the month.

About Pauline Creeden
Pauline Creeden is USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of inventive and inspirational stories, entwining real-world problems with fantasy characters. She spends most of her day caring for the many animals around the horse farm and mentoring kids in horsemanship. Still, she finds time to play Pokemon and binge on Kdramas.

Pauline is writing American historical romance as P. Creeden. To learn more about her most current books, please visit her author page by CLICKING HERE.

Abagail Eldan is returning now she has reliable internet. You may reach her page and learn more about her by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Wagons Ho!

I’ve written a few books about life on a wagon train and I find the research interesting. I have great admiration for those brave pioneers who left their comfortable home to walk across the country under the most primitive conditions. Some had no idea where they would end up or what to expect at the end of their journey.

In search of inexpensive land and opportunity, American pioneers migrated westward by the thousands. The early British American colonies for the most part hugged the Atlantic Ocean. As the population of the colonies grew and expanded, westward migration began and never really stopped.
The migration of pioneers had pushed the American frontier to the Mississippi Valley by the 1830s. Traders, explorers and missionaries who traveled further west described of fertile valleys, great forests and abundant farming, mining and hunting opportunities in the Oregon, California, Missouri frontiers and other western regions west of the Mississippi River. 
From the 1840s to the 1860s more than 300,000 pioneers crossed the plains and mountains of the West along various routes such as the Oregon and Santa Fe trails.
How Did They Travel?

Sometimes they show the pioneers using Conestoga wagons pulled by horses, with the pioneers riding. Actually, Conestoga wagons were too big and heavy for the Oregon Trail. Converted farm wagons, called Prairie Schooners, were actually used and pulled generally not by horses, but oxen.

Oxen were slower, but more reliable and tougher than mules. They ate poor grass. Oxen were very strong and could haul fully-loaded wagons up ravines or drag them out of mudholes. A large wagon needed at least three pairs of oxen to pull it.

What Trails Did They Use?

The major southern routes were the Santa Fe Trail, the Southern Emigrant Trail, and the Old Spanish Trail, as well as its wagon road successor the Mormon Road, a southern spur of the California Trail used in the winter that also made use of the western half of the Old Spanish Trail.

Wagon Trains were composed of up to 200 wagons, though more common were trains of 30 or less wagons. It was decided early on that the larger the caravan of wagons, the safer the travelers would be. 

What Did the Pioneers Need For the Trip?

BEDDING & TENT SUPPLIES: blankets, ground cloths, pillows, tent, poles, stakes, ropes. TOOLS & EQUIPMENT: set of augers, gimlet, ax, hammer, hoe, plow, shovel, spade, whetstone, oxbows, axles, kingbolts, ox shoes, spokes, wagon tongue, heavy ropes, chains.

FOOD: flour (600 lbs.), bacon ( 400 lbs.), coffee (60 lbs.), baking soda, corn meal, hardtack, dried beans, dried fruit, dried beef, molasses, vinegar, pepper, eggs, salt, sugar (100 lbs.), rice, tea (4 lbs.), lard (200 lbs.) 
Beans and rice, dried meat and salted bacon, dried fruit, hardtack or crackers (hard dried bread which had to be softened in water to eat). They took flour and sugar and sometimes baked bread, biscuits, or pies

A wagon and oxen team cost each family about $400 to $600. The total weight of wagon's cargo pulled by the oxen was about 2500 pounds. That was a lot of money back then.

What Were the Biggest Hazards?

Contrary to popular belief, attacks by Native American Indians were rare. Often, the local Indian tribes welcomed the Wagon Trains to trade. Although the long westward journey caused numerous deaths and injuries through accidents, weather and terrain related causes; the biggest danger was disease.  Thousands of pioneers died along the way due to disease and lack of medical attention. 
Illnesses claimed far more lives than violence, and the majority of violent deaths on the trail were entirely accidental.
·           Disease. Illnesses such as food poisoning, typhoid and, particularly, cholera were the primary causes of death for travelers on the Oregon Trail. ... 
·           Wagon Accidents. ... 
·           Drowning. ... 
·           Gunshots.

A Typical Day on the Trail

4:00 am: a bugler blows a trumpet or a rifle is fired by the night guards to wake up the camp. 
5:00 am: cattle are rounded up after being allowed to graze during the night (except when Indians threatened). 
5:30 am: women and children are up and fixing breakfast of usually bacon, corn porridge or “Johnny Cakes” made of flour and water. 
6:30 am: women rinse plates and mugs and stow bedding, while the men haul down tents and load them in the wagons.
7:00 am: after every family has gathered their teams and hitched them to wagons, a trumpeter signals a “Wagons Ho,” to start the wagons down the trail. Average distance covered in a day was usually fifteen miles, but on a good day twenty could be traveled. 
7:30 am: men ride ahead on horses with shovels to clear out a path, if needed. 
“Nooning Time”: animals and people stop to eat, drink and rest. 
1:00 pm: back on the trail. 
5:00 pm: when a good campsite with ample water and grass is found, pioneers stop to set up camp for the evening. Wagons are formed into a corral. 
6:00 pm: families unpack and make supper. 
7:00 pm: mothers do chores, men smoke and talk, young people dance. 
8:00 pm: camp settles down for the night, guards go out on duty. 
Midnight: night guards are changed.

My Newest Release is A Bride for Nathan, book 3 of the series: Proxy Brides.
Barb's Website
Stand alone read.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nursing Careers in the 1800's

 by Cyndi Raye

Most women in the 1800's found it hard to establish themselves in certain careers. Especially in one such as nursing. It wasn't because they didn't want to, but the obstacles in the way were huge.

 It was a common practice for doctors in the 19th century to treat their nurses as if they were mere maids without their own minds. Nurses were not allowed to suggest  a way to treat the patient, but were to only administer aid when the doctor gave the go ahead. Many times a nurse would try to calm a sick or dying patient, to the doctor's dismay. Many doctors during that time period did not have a very sweet bedside manner, and when the nurse tried to help, she was usually reprimanded.

Much of the nursing in hospitals were done without proper schooling until later in the century. If a woman wanted to become a nurse, she would shadow an experienced senior nurse as an apprentice to learn the trade.

Florence Nightingale was a pioneer in London and had established a nursing school in 1860 at St. Thomas Hospital. Then, in 1873, Bellevue Hospital followed her lead and opened their first nursing school using her mode of training in New York. Students learned bedside manner, how to observe a patient's needs and the skills to do so.  The following job description shows how it was in 1887 in some areas.

Even then, doctors didn't allow their nurses to speak up or treat the patient. In one of my mail order bride books, Ellie of the Mail Order Brides of Wichita Falls, Nurse Ellie was a young lady who wanted to establish herself in the nursing field and make a difference. She had studied hard and wanted to contribute, but at every turn, the barriers were too high.

 However, every single time she spoke up it usually got her fired. Here's an excerpt from her book. Imagine you were a free thinking woman during this period. Nurse Ellie had spunk and liked to speak her mind:

“I’m terribly sorry, Miss Jacobs, there is no longer a position for you at this hospital.”

He wasn’t sorry one bit, that Ellie could see from where she stood. She clutched her hands so tight she may have winced if she hadn’t been trying hard not to let him see how upsetting his words were. She raised her chin a notch. No tears would be shed in front of this man. 

Dr. Tate was incorrigible. He was so miserable he hated everyone and everything, always finding fault with the nurses under his charge. What Ellie didn’t understand was why he was in the business of caring for people in the first place. It was obvious to everyone at the hospital he hated both nurses and patients alike, yet no one took it upon themselves to stop this madman from ruining people’s lives. 

Like he had just ruined hers.

Dr.Tate grunted before sitting back down at his desk. “Please gather your belongings and leave the premises. Upon termination, you will no longer be permitted to step foot in this hospital. Carry on.”

Ellie stood frozen to the spot for a moment. Should she do as the others had who lost their nursing position and nod politely, thanking him for the opportunity and experience to work here all these months?

No, not Ellie. 

Her biggest downfall was speaking the honest truth in any matter.

Dr. Tate looked up from the paperwork on his desk. “Well, Miss Jacobs, go on now.”

She pressed her knees together, pursed her mouth in a tiny pucker and squared round shoulders. “Dr. Tate, while I appreciate all this hospital has taught me-”

Her words were quickly interrupted. “No need to go on and on. We can’t afford to have nurses thinking for themselves. Your job was to stand behind the doctors and follow their direction, not go about taking matters in to your own hands, defying orders and diagnosing patients, for crying out loud.”

“Is there any chance this hospital will pen me a positive reference?”

He pushed the frames of his glasses in place. “I’m afraid not, Miss Jacobs. I’m afraid you’ve done yourself in on this one.”

“That’s what I presumed, Dr. Tate. Therefore, I want you to know my true feelings.”

He put up his hand. “It’s not necessary, Miss Jacobs. I understand your frustration at losing a position here. Perhaps you are not meant to be a nurse after all.”

“Poppycock!” She took a step forward, placing the knuckles of her fists on the desktop and leaned forward in an unladylike manner. “You, sir, are indeed one of the worst doctors in Charleston! Your patients are left wondering what is happening to them as you treat people as though they are pigs in a den and not of much consequence.”

“That will be enough!” Dr. Tate rose. He tore off his glasses and flung them to land on the untidy desk. “I’ll repeat the request for you to leave these premises, Miss Jacobs, before I have someone remove you.”

Ellie flung her head back to look up at the six foot doctor. “I am leaving, sir, of my own accord.”

He pressed his fingertips to the top of the desk and leaned forward as she had done. “It’s a shame you threw away a nursing career. No one will hire you now. I’ll make sure of this.”

“I don’t doubt you will but I’ve had my say. I am a nurse and will continue to practice. Maybe not here in Charleston, but somewhere. Good day.” 

Ellie marched from the doctor’s office, her head held high. She was glad she had told him what she thought even if it wasn’t ladylike. Several employees who heard the conversation tried not to stare as she grabbed her reticule from where it sat on the corner of the window pane and left the Roper Hospital behind.

Nurse Ellie was quite bold. She had spoken up in a time when women usually kept their mouths shut because they were afraid of being ridiculed or even fired. Many nurses were fired at the drop of a hat, especially if a doctor didn't care for them. In Charleston, where Ellie starts out, if a nurse was fired she usually wound up at the Charleston Orphan House, a far cry from a nursing career. There, in the dark, depressing atmosphere, a nurse would be no more than a maid for the children, ironing and washing clothes, cooking and taking care of orphans. Many women didn't dare to speak up like Ellie had.

If you'd like to learn more about what happens to Nurse Ellie, be sure to pick up your own copy at Amazon.